A summary of where I am at on Covenant Theology

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Justified

Puritan Board Sophomore
That is a temptation. If the Church believed it for many long centuries, then it must not be dismissed lightly. But the Catholic system since the early centuries had infant baptist tied to salvation and believed in some form of baptismal regeneration. Should I join that consensus, too?
As Lane already said, not necessarily, although baptismal regeneration of some kind or other has been present in Protestantism in general (Lutherans and some Anglicans) and also even in Reformed circles (certain views on presumptive regeneration, et al.), although it isn't the majority view.

What's really impressive to me about the early life of the Church is how prevalent infant baptism already was and none objected to the practice. As Baptists sometimes mention, there were some in the early Church that argued for the superiority of credo-baptism only, but that was mostly based on prudential grounds. Some waited till their death to receive the full remission of sins (Constantine), others thought it was wiser to allow the child to grow up and make the choice themselves. Nevertheless, none of these,, however, denied the validity of an infant baptism.

Baptists today, on the other hand, will claim that many Christians have never had a baptism and by consequence not admit them to the table of the Lord.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
By foundational, do you mean it is reason to break fellowship?

I would not say it is reason to break fellowship here on the PB, for instance, nor in the general sense of Paedos and RB's getting together and having fellowship. I do think it would be problematic trying to stuff both of these views into the same denomination. Wouldn't it result in constant argument? By "fundamental" I mean that it is a paradigmatic difference in how each group sees the covenant.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Do you consider Republication or R2K, for example, to be fundamental? I am just trying to get a sense of how strongly you feel about our differences compared to differences within your own Reformed Presbyterian community.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
But for 1689, the sacraments are not covenant signs and seals but ordinances for beleivers
It is true the 1689 Confession uses the word 'ordinance' but many Baptists have been happy to use the word sacrament. Early framers of the 1689 confession were happy to use the word sacrament in their personal writings.

beleivers
The confession does not use the word beleivers :D
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Ken, I think some versions of republication are well within the pale of orthodoxy. Radical 2 Kingdoms paradigms I am rather uncomfortable with, but I do think some milder forms are within the bounds of orthodoxy as well. Views that go off the rails would include making the Mosaic covenant simpliciter a covenant of works (though not even Kline advocated that). Also, I think that a R2K view that says we must never engage in being a citizen of the country where we find ourselves is also off the rails. But there are many gradations of each of these camps, so it is difficult to say. And, for myself, I would prefer that presbyteries have the say-so on this. I don't really have authority to say anything more than "I would vote for someone in this camp, but not someone in that camp."
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
It is true the 1689 Confession uses the word 'ordinance' but many Baptists have been happy to use the word sacrament. Early framers of the 1689 confession were happy to use the word sacrament in their personal writings.


The confession does not use the word beleivers :D

And the WCF refers to "ordinance" at least once, if I'm not mistaken. I think some writers from that era may have used the terms somewhat interchageably.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
That's a good point about the "fruits," and I agree. I was responding to what seemed to be absolute language when you said, "In the New Covenant you are member ONLY by the New Birth." But I now see that you know that "tares will slip in among the wheat." This is the same as I believe. I guess the by your word in all caps "ONLY" that you were speaking theroetically.

Thanks for writing back.
Hi Ed,
Unfortunately there will be members in the visible church who are not regenerate--their confession is false, like Simon the Magician's, or Ananias and Sapphira. Until they are regenerate, no amount of church membership will put them into the New Covenant--they are simply unrepentant sinners who made it past the membership requirements. But Baptists only allow into the membership those who they are convinced are truly regenerate. Sometimes they are fooled.
Grace and peace to you.
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
How can you as a Baptist recognize a visible and invisible church and maintain a consistent Baptist theology?

Don't misunderstand what I'm asking I know that Baptists do this I just don't see how it is consistent with their position
 
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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I've been tempted to enter this discussion, but going on my own struggle with my position on the Abrahamic Covenant, I recognize the gravity of such a study, and its personal nature. I finally came down on the Baptist side, but it wasn't easy. I took in a lot of what my Presbyterian brethren said on the PB, but had to finally disengage from the debate and prayerfully process the information away from the board. There was just too much noise for me, and I needed some quiet time.


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Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I've been tempted to enter this discussion, but going on my own struggle with my position on the Abrahamic Covenant, I recognize the gravity of such a study, and its personal nature. I finally came down on the Baptist side, but it wasn't easy. I took in a lot of what my Presbyterian brethren said on the PB, but had to finally disengage from the debate and prayerfully process the information away from the board. There was just too much noise for me, and I needed some quiet time.


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There's a Baptist for you, needing his quiet time.

Sorry Bill, I couldn't resist!!!

I know what you mean. I need some of that "quiet time" myself. I used to say "more reading, less typing" and need to once again take my own advice. Without doing some serious study on your own, it is too easy to swing from one extreme to another in overreaction to something.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
How can you as a Baptist recognize a visible and invisible church and maintain a consistent Baptist theology?

Don't misunderstand what I'm asking I know that Baptists do this I just don't see how it is consistent with their position
Because we believe that the unregenerate who make it into the ranks ought not to be there--it is an anomaly to be guarded against, and the offenders are to be excommunicated when exposed, like Simon Magus or Pris. and Aq. Just because we can't ensure that tares won't slip in, doesn't mean we throw the door open to them indiscriminately. All unbelievers are warmly welcomed and strongly urged to attend church and hear the Gospel, but are barred from communion and Baptism until they convince the ministers by their life and testimony that they are bringing forth fruits answering to repentance.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
All unbelievers are warmly welcomed and strongly urged to attend church and hear the Gospel, but are barred from communion and Baptism until they convince the ministers by their life and testimony that they are bringing forth fruits answering to repentance.

So if I may ask. Do you rebaptize a person who later repents?
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
Ben said:
Because we believe that the unregenerate who make it into the ranks ought not to be there--it is an anomaly to be guarded against, and the offenders are to be excommunicated

You mean like the old administration of the covenant of grace?

Excommunication or Matthew 18 is not a New Testament doctrine it comes to us straight from the old administration of the covenant of grace in which unbelievers were to be cut off from the people of God.

The baptist presupposition that in the old administration of the covenant of grace you had a mixed multitude of believers and unbelievers and that was acceptable to God is a false presupposition.

In the old administration of the covenant of grace the only proper members were believers and their children, all others were to be cut off or excommunicated from Israel.


Ben said:
All unbelievers are warmly welcomed and strongly urged to attend church and hear the Gospel, but are barred fromcommunion and Baptism until they convince the ministers by their life and testimony that they are bringing forth fruits answering to repentance.

Where in the New Testament is it taught that someone confessing faith must convince the ministers that they are believers?

What if a man ministers in a Baptist church for 20 years baptizing 100 people ordaining men to the ministry and administering the Lord supper participating in church discipline then confesses that he has been an unbeliever for 20 years are all of his baptisms and ordinations and disciplin now invalid because he was not truly a member of the church and not a part of the covenant of grace?

Baptists want to cling to a believers only church and covenant of grace but in practice you have to act like a Presbyterian.

If a man is not legitimately a member of the church or the covenant of grace he certainly cannot legitimately baptize someone nor ordain them to ministry or do church discipline.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
There's a Baptist for you, needing his quiet time.

Sorry Bill, I couldn't resist!!!

I know what you mean. I need some of that "quiet time" myself. I used to say "more reading, less typing" and need to once again take my own advice. Without doing some serious study on your own, it is too easy to swing from one extreme to another in overreaction to something.

Great point. I have an acquaintance who changed his position on baptism four times! He's changed so many time I jokingly call him an "omni-Baptist"! I believe there's too much at stake to make a rash decision. While both sides think the other side is in error, there is a greater error in making a theological change without being totally convinced.


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Timotheos

Puritan Board Freshman
To be truthful, I am growing suspicious of these RB books, because they are written to push an agenda. They have an ax to grind. Their polemics seem to be clouding their exegesis. The more they write, the more I am turned away from it. Some of it is their tone....as if paedos are so stupid that they overlook the clear implications of Scripture. Or that paedos love to baptize their babies so much without biblical reasons, that they will create an entire theological construct in order to defend this one pet doctrine. Many Presbyterians/Reformed are also similarly partisan and unfair to their oppoenents (R. Scott Clark, for instance), but I see a spate of baptists writings doing the same thing (and I am sure I have also done the same).
First, all books that set out to refute one view or affirm another is to push an agenda. Welcome to the world of publishing. To write is to partake in the hubristic act that you have a view that you believe is worthy for others not only to hear but also to adhere. Consider this as well, to be a particular baptist in the 17th century could get you into heaps of trouble (ask Benjamin Keach). So if they published on the subject, they definitely had an axe to grind. But it would likely get them into major trouble too.

Secondly, and please be honest, which books have you read besides Denault (who was writing a historical theology not a polemical one)? I'm curious to know who you are getting your info from. You already demonstrated that you misunderstood Denault concerning the Abrahamic Covenant (see the other thread where I quoted his context which clears up the misunderstanding). Have you read much else?

Thirdly, I've not read anyone with a tone of "paedos are so stupid" as you have mentioned. The very recent Founders Journal was on 1689 federalism, and I didn't catch a whiff of that scent. This is why I'm curious to learn who you have been reading.
 

Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thirdly, I've not read anyone with a tone of "paedos are so stupid" as you have mentioned.

I posted this link in another thread, but I'll repost here. It's a three-part review/refutation of Denault. Is the author not being fair/accurate in his characterization of Denault's dismissive language toward paedobaptists? Is it untrue that Denault strongly implies that paedobaptists are eisegetes and closet-sacramentalists that went looking to the Scripture in search of their position?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I posted this link in another thread, but I'll repost here. It's a three-part review/refutation of Denault. Is the author not being fair/accurate in his characterization of Denault's dismissive language toward paedobaptists? Is it untrue that Denault strongly implies that paedobaptists are eisegetes and closet-sacramentalists that went looking to the Scripture in search of their position?

It might be easier to answer your questions if you would just cite Denault's book itself.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
"Just for clarification, you seem to have skipped a step in the presentation of your reasoning. Circumcision was given to male infants so baptism should be given to male and female infants?"

Consider that OT women are included in the covenant-it was not just a male schemed covenant. How is this accomplished if women never received the sign? I say that it is via proxy of the federal head. Women cannot be circumcised-they do not possess the anatomy. So, in their case, as the male seed passes through the 'cut', they are circumcised by proxy of sorts.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
"-The Covenant of Grace does not equal the New Covenant. The New Covenant is the culmination of the Covenant of Grace."

In the same way that many historic writers intermingle the terms *regeneration* and *conversion* to mean the same thing, they do the same many times with the C of G and the NC; I have posted this in the past and took some heat on it, but it is just one example:

http://www.semperreformanda.com/201...-of-grace-and-new-covenant-interchangeably-2/

Additionally, WLC does the same thing to the Mosaic, referring to it as a 'covenant of works:

"Q. 97. What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
A. Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned; yet besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience."

Personally, I disagree that the Mosaic IS the C of W's but an element of the covenant.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
First, all books that set out to refute one view or affirm another is to push an agenda. Welcome to the world of publishing. To write is to partake in the hubristic act that you have a view that you believe is worthy for others not only to hear but also to adhere. Consider this as well, to be a particular baptist in the 17th century could get you into heaps of trouble (ask Benjamin Keach). So if they published on the subject, they definitely had an axe to grind. But it would likely get them into major trouble too.

Secondly, and please be honest, which books have you read besides Denault (who was writing a historical theology not a polemical one)? I'm curious to know who you are getting your info from. You already demonstrated that you misunderstood Denault concerning the Abrahamic Covenant (see the other thread where I quoted his context which clears up the misunderstanding). Have you read much else?

Thirdly, I've not read anyone with a tone of "paedos are so stupid" as you have mentioned. The very recent Founders Journal was on 1689 federalism, and I didn't catch a whiff of that scent. This is why I'm curious to learn who you have been reading.

Much of what he was referring to is in a thread in a FB 1689 group. Some of the "people are saying" quotes he posted are from posts in that thread by published authors.
 
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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
"As Lane already said, not necessarily, although baptismal regeneration of some kind or other has been present in Protestantism in general (Lutherans and some Anglicans) and also even in Reformed circles (certain views on presumptive regeneration, et al.), although it isn't the majority view."

The Reformed held to baptismal regeneration-just not in the estimation of the erred doctrine that is prevalent today. It shouldn't be compared to such. For example:
http://www.semperreformanda.com/2013/12/what-did-westminster-believe-about-baptismal-regeneration/

To be accurate, as the confession states, the sign and thing signified are not 'tied to the moment'. However, regeneration does occur when the sign is placed in some instances-hence, the baptism is regeneratory.
 

Timotheos

Puritan Board Freshman
I posted this link in another thread, but I'll repost here. It's a three-part review/refutation of Denault. Is the author not being fair/accurate in his characterization of Denault's dismissive language toward paedobaptists? Is it untrue that Denault strongly implies that paedobaptists are eisegetes and closet-sacramentalists that went looking to the Scripture in search of their position?
Whether he is or not, consider this. This was a revision of Denault's ThM thesis. How many people can say that their ThM thesis has had this kind of ripple effect? I know I can't say mine has. I have some of it published in journals, and I doubt it has even been mentioned yet in further writing. And as a ThM thesis, there is to be expected some level of scholarship that may not be up to snuff on a PhD level.

However, what you might call dismissive or accusations of eisegesis is simply an uncompromising assertion. We live in such a pluralistic and tolerant society, that any disagreement with out the slightest bit of self-doubt must imply only the worst. Thankfully for Martin Luther, he didn't live in our generation. I'm not condoning his rhetoric (although I never took at some paedo's have), but I am saying that it is no big deal. Have thicker skin. When I read others who accuse me of forcing something onto the text (I'm thinking of another thread specifically), my response is not to be offended but simply defend my view FROM Scripture.

On top of all that, most of what is deemed objectionable is easily answered by the mere fact that put into context he is referring to how the 17th century PB's understood things. The very first quote given (loc 1320) has in its context a historical examination. He was not saying what is or should be but what was for 17th century PB.

Which brings me to 2 final points: (1) Denault's work is on historical theology. If read as such, then much of the rhetoric put in that context falls away. He is pointing out how 17th cnetury PB's viewed Covenant Theology and the paedo brethren. (2) Denault is not the end all be all of 1689 federalism. He did move it up in popularity and accessibility. But there is more there at present and more to come (I know this in connection w/ key guys in the ARBCA). If Denault is the reason you don't like the system, then I can't think of another system that doesnt' have its bad eggs. So you will bounce around until you come up with your own (likely heterodox) system.

In Horton's "conversation" w/ Roger Olson about Calvinism, Horton (read his CT and didn't always agree but still enjoyed it) said something profound that has relevance here: "Don't go to Mike Horton or to any leader that you can think of that is better known than I am... Go to the reformed confessions... that's really where the church came together, not really smart people but the church saying 'this is what we believe'." If you, Pergamum or anyone else, can adhere to a view of CT that is consistent w/ the 1689 LBC, then great. It doesn't have to go hand in hand w/ Denault. There is plenty of diversity in the paedo views of CT. How much has Kline come up recently in various threads?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
It is getting difficult at this point in the thread to understand who is talking to whom. I am going to shut it down. If folks want to interact with what Denault has written, or what others have written about what Denault has written, please begin a new thread and provide citations.
 
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